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Proposed Government guidance urging GPs to report underage sexual activity could destroy young people's confiden- ce in GPs and conflict with GMC rules, the BMA warns.

The guidance, which is under consultation, sparked controversy after advising that sexually active 13- and 14-year-olds should be considered victims of a crime whose details should be passed to child protection officers.

But the BMA's submission to the consultation, obtained by Pulse, warns doctors who breach confidentiality would risk a GMC investigation and could even be struck off.

'It is important that health care professionals do not feel compelled to report underage sex in all circumstances as this would undermine the confidence young people have in accessing health care services,' the submission said.

'If a doctor breaches confidentiality s/he is much more likely to be subject to an investigation and possible action by the GMC rather than the courts, in some cases being struck off the medical register.'

Dr Peter Holden, GPC negotiator, said: 'I'm not an agent of the state ­ one has to look at the Gillick issues here. My duty is to my patient.

'The GMC rules are the ones I abide to. If they want anything else they get me in court and a judge orders me. We have to stand up for ourselves as a

profession.'

He warned patients would not seek advice if they thought their details would definitely be disclosed.

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